Editor in Chief: Dr. Hussain Yasa Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Progressiveness Changes our Ill-fate


Progressiveness Changes our Ill-fate

In 1905 American Social Reformers began to call themselves Progressives. The philosophy of progressivism welcomed innovations and reforms in government to alleviate ills of society and wanted people to have more control over the government. The Progressives and, this movement, to get away from problems such as business monopolies, dishonest politics, city slums, and poor working conditions in factories and mines.

The Progressive movement is a broad label for the various economic, social, and political reform movements that took place in the United States between 1900 and 1914. Throughout the Progressive Era, a common concern sets the tone for nearly every discussion of economic, social, and political policy: an uneasiness in the population brought about by the dramatic development of modern industry and economic and social changes. Progressivism was an expression of discontent against industrialization, individualism, immigration, and urbanization.

By 1900, cities were crowded with millions of poor laborers, and working conditions were appalling. Something had to be done, and the progressive movement was the nation’s response. Although the progressive reformers did not fix everything, little escaped their attention. Since the political powers were unwilling or unable to address the rapid economic and social changes brought about by the industrial revolution in America, the progressive movement grew outside government and eventually forced government to take stands and deal with the growing problems. The Progressives wanted to end: segregation, unhealthy working and living conditions, and they did have success through several reforms.

The Movement was a massive assault on the problems that plagued American life at the turn of the century. Their targets included working conditions such as hours, safety, wages and job security. They attacked abuses of the capitalist system in order to preserve it, rather than replace it with socialist alternatives. They addressed moral issues such as prostitution and alcohol abuse, which they saw as contributing to domestic violence. The progressives wanted better management of businesses and political entities such as cities and counties.

The Progressives wanted more government control of business and tax reform. For too long, businesses had been too influential in the government, and the progressives felt that it was time that the government stepped in. Another economic reform that the Progressives pushed was having taxes based on income rather than property holdings. To avoid high taxes people would put their property into bonds so that it would not be taxed.

One of the set goals was to have housing regulations. Another goal was to establish a minimum wage. The reason for that was that in the factories and mines workers were working an eight-hour a day, and they were not receiving a fair wage. The Progressives also wanted safety requirements in the workplace. In some factories, the conditions were very hazardous and haphazard. Through media, the Progressives wanted to increase public awareness regarding corruption and other problems in the businesses and the government. There were many advantages such as free passes on railroads that were given to government officials to influence their actions.

The Progressives also wanted to make many political reforms. They pushed the goal for the rights of the citizens to govern themselves. The Progressives felt that the government should be able to control big business however; they believed that the people should have more freedom in the government. They wanted to decrease the role of special interest groups in the government. They felt that they had too much power in government decisions. They wanted to make the government more honest and responsive to the needs of the citizens. The Progressives felt that the government had been ignoring the needs of the people and were too engaged in political problems. They wanted to create more of an active, stronger role for the Federal government to protect the public interests.

During The Movement, many influential individuals helped keep the movement running. Part of the movement came from a group of journalists known as muckrakers. Theodore Roosevelt gave them this name because he felt that the muckrakers were making people discontented by pointing out what was wrong with society. The muckrakers felt that unless people got angry about society wrongs, then they would not fight for change. One of influential Muckraker at this time was Upton Sinclair. He wrote the book The Jungle. In this book, he describes in graphic details of the lives of stockyard workers and the operations of the meat packing industry. Along with being a muckraker, he was also an ‘on and off member’ of the Socialist Party.

Unfortunately, during the Progressive era, many minorities failed to take important steps to reform, but African Americans became the exception. Asian immigrants were heavily disregarded while American Indians became seen as inferior. Many ‘Whites’ believed it would take several generations before the American Indian could function normally in American society. Because of the stereotype, they were regulated to minimal paying unskilled jobs. Blacks on the other hand made great strides during the Progressive era. Blacks wanted to be equal and lift themselves up in their own way instead of conforming to White society as Washington suggested. They marched on Washington and demanded the unrestricted right to vote as well as an end to all forms of segregation, equality of economic opportunity, higher education, equal justice in courts and an end to trade union discrimination. These demands stirred many Whites abroad and set the groundwork for the civil rights movement. Blacks also became proud of themselves forming organizations to create pride for Black heritage.

The Progressives also made political reforms. The Progressives worked to end corruption in law enforcement, public transportation, and other city services. They also worked to increase the political power of the voters. In 1904, the Direct Primary Law was passed. This law allowed voters to nominate candidates.

The Progressive era came about as the result of several motives. The forces behind it ranged from the common person to the politicians as well as intellectuals. The progressive era evidently shaped up to be quite a significant part of our history.

Currently, Afghanistan passes through myriad of problems that includes economical, social and political. Economical disparity, social dissonance and political immaturity are the underlying problems that need immediate attention. The most genuine concern rests to our security and democratic stability post US draw down that should be devised and planned. The national integrity and social harmony can be strengthened only when socio-political and economical prejudices are done away with, by collaborative evolution of a progressive ingenuity.

Asmatryari is the permanent writer of daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at asmatyari@gmail.com@

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